|Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - |
LEMONT, Ill. – The state’s best amateur golfers age 25 and older will tackle a familiar challenge next week, as south-suburban Flossmoor Country Club will host the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship for the sixth-straight time.
Now in its 24th year, the Illinois State Mid-Amateur is a 54-hole stroke play championship. The 78-golfer field will play 36 holes on Tuesday, Aug. 30, with the low 35 and ties advancing to the final 18-hole round on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Deer Park native Chadd Slutzky is the defending champion.
Players to Watch
Vance Antoniou (North Barrington) broke through for his first victory in a State or CDGA event earlier this month at the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship. He played alongside fellow Mid-Am participant Mark Esposito in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Winged Foot this May.
Todd Mitchell (Bloomington) has won this event four times, most recently in 2013, and the Illinois State Amateur twice. This season, Mitchell has finished runner-up at the CDGA Amateur Championship in June and was medalist at the Ravinia Green Country Club U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship qualifier earlier this month.
Andrew Price (Lake Bluff) defeated Mitchell to win the CDGA Amateur Championship at Calumet Country Club in June. Price, the 2014 State Mid-Am champ, finished T20 at this year’s Western Amateur, missing match play by two strokes.
Steve Sawtell (Northfield) added the inaugural CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship crown, alongside Michael Natale, to his already decorated tournament resume, which is headlined by CDGA Amateur victories in 2004 and 2009.
Chadd Slutzky (Deer Park) is this event’s defending champion, as he defeated Price in a three-hole playoff last year at Flossmoor. Slutzky’s 2016 has featured a T11 finish at the Illinois State Amateur and match play appearances in the CDGA Am, CDGA Mid-Am and CDGA Four-Ball.
Others to Watch
Andy Johnson (Chicago) was co-medalist at the CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship in May and qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Ravinia Green this month.
Matthew McLaughlin (Barrington) advanced to the final match of the CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship in May before falling to Kyle Nathan, 3 and 2.
Derek Meinhart (Mattoon) has finished in the top-5 of this event each of the last three years, including second in 2014.
Michael Natale (Indian Head Park) sank a birdie putt on 18 to clinch the inaugural CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship for his first State or CDGA victory.
Tim Sheppard (East Peoria) won the inaugural CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship alongside fellow Mid-Am participant Tom Kearfott in May and was runner-up to Antoniou at this month’s CDGA Senior Amateur.
About the Course
Over a span of three centuries, Flossmoor Country Club has provided golfers, both from the District and elsewhere, with a challenging and rewarding experience. That tradition has continued over the last five years with the State Mid-Am.
Originally founded in 1899 on a patch of farmland near the Illinois Central Railroad, Flossmoor Country Club was first laid out by Herbert James Tweedie, one of the premier course designers of the time. Known as Homewood Country Club at its outset, Tweedie’s design skillfully played to the track’s natural terrain. The set up drew the 1906 Western Open, which set the stage for the Club’s tournament-hosting pedigree. Flossmoor has hosted numerous Western Amateurs, a U.S. Amateur, the 1920 PGA Championship and Red Cross Matches during World War I.
Tweedie’s original design has been tweaked frequently, but none more so drastically than Ray Hearn’s redesign in 2008. Hearn and Flossmoor undertook an audacious renovation project, as they built a brand new par-3 13th, while expanding and adding to many other holes. The end result earned the club Golf Magazine’s Renovation of the Year in 2009.
Due in large part to the renovation, Flossmoor remains one of the District’s premier courses. At 6,941 yards for the Championship, the par-72 course requires an excellent combination of distance, accuracy and touch that has stood the test of time.
Last Year’s Illinois State Mid-Amateur
Chadd Slutzky and Andrew Price were the only two competitors under par at last year’s State Mid-Am, with both finishing stroke play at 3-under for the Championship. After both players tallied bogey and par on the first two playoff holes, Slutzky clinched the title with an 8-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole. Glenn Przybylski finished third at 2-over-par overall, with Meinhart in fourth and Sheppard in fifth.
Joining 2015 champion Slutzky and 2014 winner Price in 2016 will be four other past winners of the tournament. Todd Mitchell’s four Illinois State Mid-Am titles (2008, 2010, 2011, 2013) are the most in the event’s history. Mark Esposito, a native of Elgin, joins Mitchell as one of six multiple-time winners, having taken the title in 1999 and 2006. Following six-time CDGA Senior Player of the Year Dave Ryan’s victory in 2003, Brimfield native Rick LeHew was victorious in 2004.